Hack of DNA Website Exposes Data From 92 Million Accounts

Renderings of DNA strands

The security researcher reported that no other data related to MyHeritage was found on the private server. "There has been no evidence that the data in the file was ever used by the perpetrators", the statement said, adding that there is no reason to believe any other systems were compromised.

Our Information Security Team received the file from the security researcher, reviewed it, and confirmed that its contents originated from MyHeritage and included all the email addresses of users who signed up to MyHeritage up to October 26, 2017, and their hashed passwords. The website now has 96 million users from around the world with 1.4 million of them who have taken the DNA test. MyHeritage doesn't store user passwords. "This means that anyone gaining access to the hashed passwords does not have the actual passwords".

MyHeritage says that user accounts are safe, as the passwords were hashed using a per-user unique cryptographic key. Inside it were the millions of emails and hashed passwords.

MyHeritage said that the hashing is "one-way", meaning that it is nearly impossible to turn the hashed password back into the original.

Novak Djokovic stunned by 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato at French Open 2018
Verdasco too failed to break his serve initially before regaining composure and winning four games in a row to take the set 6-2. Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after a point in the fourth set against Italy's Marco Cecchinato in Paris on June 5, 2018.

Researchers at the University of Washington encoded a strand of DNA to contain malware, which allowed them to take remote control of a computer that was being used to process genetic data. But, Hercher said, the security breach involving MyHeritage doesn't seem to be any different than security breaches at other companies that don't work with genetic information. Credit card information, for example, isn't stored on the website but with trusted third-party payment processors like BlueSnap and PayPal.

MyHeritage has also taken steps to inform relevant authorities, as per new GDPR rules. So the passwords are probably safe, but MyHeritage has advised all its users to change theirs regardless, and they should.

In its statement, the company emphasized that DNA data is stored "on segregated systems and are separate from those that store the email addresses, and they include added layers of security". It plans to hire an independent cybersecurity firm to investigate the incident and potentially beef up security. "Since Oct 26, 2017 (the date of the breach) and the present we have not seen any activity indicating that any MyHeritage accounts had been compromised". MyHeritage also said that it will be rolling out two-factor authentication to all users.

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